If you simply watch television, open a phone book, read the paper or drive down the street, ads will accost you. We’ll help you, no matter your accident, be it car crash, whiplash or other injury! Reams of advertisements fill the telephone directory with vivid script, images of the injured, and promises of service at no fee until damages are won. Some law firms are even advertising the ability to get loans against a future settlement. The insurance industry is claiming that the lawyer’s aggressive advertisements are bringing in more and more personal injury lawsuits. It has gotten so bad that some insurance companies have stopped selling auto insurance. The bureau’s regional services manager has cited several instances where, even though the vehicles were barely damaged, people asked for and were awarded huge settlements for their injuries. According to this manager, the insurance industry wants to pay for true claims, but that the amounts injured people are claiming are out of control.
Each company has seen its premiums increase due to the rise in claim costs in a varying manner. The typical rise in cost for drivers at an average risk level ranges from 15 to 35 percent. Those are mild estimates, which are definitely not true for those who have had highway traffic offenses in the past. Lawyers dispute the fact that their ads and claim cost increases are related. As one lawyer describes, he doesn’t get the connection between the increased number of claims and his advertising methods. If a person has been injured by another driver, they should be able to make a claim for compensation. The offer of short-term loans on the promise of future claims may be a violation of the lawyer’s code of ethics. Law associations are researching this. On the other hand, there are lawyers who say that personal injury lawyers are definitely wanting to increase the number of claims through hostile advertising. But he doesn’t see why there is a problem with this. To me, the troubling thing is the insurance industry group’s implication that it is somehow improper for attorneys to inform injured people about their rights to damages and to help them assert those rights. He also admits that auto insurance costs are on the rise and agrees that the entire system could use an overhaul. However, he adds that the insurance industry has rejected efforts to work with his organization in order to accomplish this. Looking into accident prevention, as a means of reducing claim costs, is the suggestion of the President of the Bar Association. He’d like to see the insurance folks lobbying for increased fines for infractions caught by photo radar and bans on cell phone use by drivers. He also questions why the insurance business has not tried to improve road safety or attempt to cut down on the number of accidents in the U.S. Also, the insurance industry has suffered with its investments; this has drastically reduced its profits. Meanwhile, legislation is being called for by insurance companies that should prevent motorists from double dipping. Certain claimants seek awards for lost wages in situations where they have already received compensation under their existing employee benefit coverage. What’s more, usually these awards include the gross wages, and do not take income taxes and other deductions into consideration. The employee has no reason to go back to work. You can make a lot more money in the long run as you stay off work.
There are not current stats on how many injury accident lawyers currently practice, but lawyers said there probably isn’t any other place were so many lawsuits could be filed. Motorists can usually sue for pain and suffering, but in some locales, the injuries have to be of a very serious nature and permanent. It may look like the advertising has increased the claims being made, but it is just the opposite. There shouldn’t be any problem with lawyers taking care of any costs until the settlement is won, or even taking care of disbursements if the case isn’t won.